CA Attorney General Announces Civil Rights Probe of Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office, County Jail

California AG Rob Bonta

By Sofia Leguria

OAKLAND, CA – The CA Attorney General’s Office announced Wednesday the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office is under investigation to determine if its jail facilities and practices are constitutional after allegations regarding the conditions of the facilities.

Citing the California Constitution and Civil Code section 52.3, the State Attorney General said this week it’s his job to investigate if a law enforcement agency has violated the state or federal laws.

AG Rob Bonta said that in a case like Santa Clara, there is not a criminal investigation into an individual or incident alone, but a pattern of incidents.

The Attorney General has not specified a particular complaint or allegation.

But Bonta said, “It is clear that there is a lack of trust in Santa Clara County as a result of deeply concerning allegations around county jail facilities and other misconduct. These concerns have been repeatedly voiced by elected leaders, editorial boards, community members, and more.”

He added, “Bottom line: Public institutions are subject to public oversight. That’s why the California Department of Justice is launching a pattern or practice investigation into the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. We will be thorough and impartial in our efforts to ensure that the civil rights of the people of Santa Clara County are respected.”

AG Bonta noted that last month there was review of the Torrance Police Department for use of excessive force, racists text messages, and other discrimination.

In August there was a stipulated judgment against the Bakersfield Police Department, Bonta added, explaining there is now a Bakersfield Racial Justice Bureau to address bias in policy.

“Public safety is built on trust…When communities feel they are treated fairly and equitably by law enforcement, it increases trust and that in turn contributes to increased public safety,” AG Bonta added.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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